I woke up yesterday morning around 8:30 and went to take a shower. I hadn't been looking forward to this; the bathroom in Tony's parents' home is the only room I don't really like. There's no heater and no window for the sun to shine through, only a small set of lights in the ceiling that give off some heat if left on for awhile. It is FREEZING in there. It's so cold that Tony chooses to go to a public shower instead.
I showered, and it wasn't too bad. I went back to the bedroom to blow-dry my hair, put on make-up, and get dressed.
And then Tony's mom started banging on the door and hollering. Tony hollered back. They sounded angry and I didn't understand a word of what was being said. Tony told me that his mom wanted me to come out because her sister was there and wanted to see me. His niece banged on the door and yelled, Tony yelled, and his mom banged on the door and yelled, Come out! My sister came yesterday morning, too, but you were sleeping! She wants to see Amanda!
I felt trapped. Anxious. On display. Tony, this is hard for me. I don't understand anything they're saying. I'm going to go out there and say "ni hao" and your aunt will repeat me and they'll all laugh at me, like they always do.
I alternated between snapping at him and pleading for help. I was naked, wrapped in a towel, and feeling so alone. This is the first time I've really realized how hard it will be to marry you. Everything is so different. The language, the food, the bathrooms, the habits. Everything! He looked sad, and I was quick to add, I still WANT to marry you! And I will. It's just hard. But you're worth it. This is worth it.
Finally, I hugged him, took a deep breath, and continued getting ready, all while people yelled on the other side of the door.*
We ate breakfast, noodles with eggs and vegetables, and what were basically dumplings made with egg instead of dough. Then we just hung out for the rest of the day. Reading, playing games on our phones and iPad. We taught Tony's niece to play Crazy Eights. He and I cuddled up in bed and watched The Talented Mr. Ripley on Netflix (highly recommend).
Around 6, Tony's cousin and his wife came to take us to hot pot. They were so friendly, and we began asking each other questions, them with their broken English and me with my broken Mandarin. Tony translated when needed.
It was supposed to be just Tony and I going with his cousin to dinner, but as we were leaving, we ran into Tony's sister-in-law and niece. She jumped off their scooter and begged to come with us. No! her mom said. Of course! the cousin said. And she grabbed Tony's hand, while I held the other, and we were on our way. It is so clear how much she admires and loves her uncle. She follows him everywhere, has even tried to follow him into the bathroom a couple of times! I am loving watching the two of them.
It will be hard. But as mentioned above, it will be worth it. And I realize that again and again every day. Last night, it was while all of us were huddled together in a cab on our way home after hot pot. Tony's cousin up front in the passenger seat, his wife in the back on one side of me, Tony on my other side with his niece on his lap. Yes, definitely worth it.
*I have to tell you, even though they are yelling, they are not angry (at least not usually). It is just the way Chinese people talk. They are loud and some of the tones in their language are very harsh.